IGA has participated in the French-Italian Public Consortium for Grapevine Genome Characterization, the first plant genome sequencing project conducted only by European research centres. At that time, the grapevine genome was the fourth one produced for flowering plants, the second for a woody species and the first for a fruit crop. IGA has contributed to the Sanger sequencing of a nearly-homozygous grapevine and to the genome assembly.
Analysis of the grapevine genome revealed the expansion of gene families that control the synthesis of beneficial compounds in the grape berry, like terpene odorants and health-promoting stilbenes.
Unlike the genomes of several other plant species, the grapevine genome has not undergone recent events of genome duplication or chromosomal rearrangement. This unique history of grapevine evolution disclosed the ancestral features of plant genomes, shared by all angiosperm plants, but obscured by genome rearrangements in previously sequenced species. We identified the contribution of three ancestral genomes to the grapevine haploid content. This ancestral arrangement is common to dicotyledonous plants but absent from the genome of monocots. This groundbreaking discovery for the model of evolution of flowering plants was later confirmed by genome sequencing of other dicots.
Jaillon O et al (2007) The grapevine genome sequence suggests ancestral hexaploidization in major angiosperm phyla. Nature 449(7161):463-467
Funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAAF), additional funding from the Regional Government of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)
Status: Vigna project, completed